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Egypt court cancels Hamas listing as terrorist organisation

Hamas is an offshoot of Egypt's Muslim Brotherhood which the authorities have also declared a terrorist group.

FILE: Qassam Brigades, the armed wing of Hamas, was classified as a terrorist organisation by Egypt in January. Picture: RSC Inc.

An Egyptian appeals court on Saturday cancelled a ruling to list the Palestinian group Hamas as a terrorist organisation, judicial sources said.

Hamas is an offshoot of Egypt's Muslim Brotherhood which the authorities have also declared a terrorist group and have repressed since the army ousted one of its leaders, Mohamed Morsi, from the presidency in 2013.

Cairo has for many years played a central role in engineering ceasefires between neighbouring Israel and Hamas, which dominates the Gaza Strip, including a truce reached between the sides in August that ended a 50-day Gaza war.

The lawyer who first raised the case told Reuters he would request that Egypt's Foreign Ministry place Hamas on its list of terrorist organisations, based on previous judicial decisions.

"This ruling does not return us to zero. I have two rulings placing the Brotherhood and the Izz ad-Din al-Qassam Brigades on the list of terrorist organisations," Ashraf Farahat said.

Qassam Brigades, the armed wing of Hamas, was classified as a terrorist organisation by Egypt in January.

Hamas has rejected the courts' decisions, while the Brotherhood maintains it is committed to peaceful activism and rejects links to violence.